Monday, October 2, 2017

Urban Adventure

I have a streak going--three years of running the RunnersWorld-Tulsa Urban Adventure Race. The first two years I ran the 100-miler, but this year since I have a 100 miller t run next weekend, I decided to do 50 miles.
My teamies in Cloudslitter probably questioned my sanity of doing an ultra the week before my target race, but I was taking it easy with mostly shuffling and walking. 

We started at 7:00 sharp, and I forgot to start my watch, so my final mileage was recorded as 49.9 miles. I also set my Suunto to ping every minute instead of shorter intervals, which extended my battery life to something like 40 hours. Making a turn would lop off a few feet, and I left this setting for Cloudsplitter (my 100 for next weekend.)

I hung with friends for the first couple of miles, but my main mission was to pace Tammy Cryer to her first 50-mile finish. I ran her pace--walked when she walked and shuffled when she walked fast. She's a great walker, and keeping her in good spirits would get her to her goal.

Our aid stations were Quik Trips, and we hit one every 2-4 miles. QTs have everything you need in an ultra, but you have to pay for it, and the clerks don't fill your water bottles or packs. I told Tammy to keep her pace steady, and don't dilly dally around with me when I stopped to take pictures.

The Urban Adventure s all pavement. You run on the road and/or sidewalks, which can be asphalt, concrete, or potholes, and sometimes brick. 

It's mostly flattish, but there are enough gradual inclines to make the course look scary on an elevation profile. Truly, you could run every step.

Of course, there were times when you could not run. Downtown Tulsa, we got a nice unexpected break when a very slow train poked along. we debated laying down and rolling under it. 

This was a good time for selfies. Jason Bement joined us for a few miles. Jason was running the marathon which was a short 1.2-mile jaunt and one big loop.

As you can see--the weather was spectacular. In past years it has been in the upper 90s for the high. It only made it to the low 80s this day.

COME ON YOU #@*!!%*@*@ TRAIN!!!! It was slow.

Tammy channels her inner eye.  I just now realized her shirt was a near perfect match to the urban artwork.

We''re cruising down Harvard--one of my lesser favorite portions of the course. The Tulsa State Fair was going on, and traffic was heavy all day and most of the night.

Why a picture of Staples?

This is either a test pole for Staples, or their return policy pole, or maybe just advertising.

We got the first lap done and shaved a few hours off of Tammy's lap time from last year. I had made a decision to run the second loop backward and asked permission to do so. My thoughts were that we'd see a lot of runners coming the other way. We could give them kudos, and they could encourage us.

But not far into the second loop, the wheels fell off. Tammy was blistering up, and her pace slowed significantly. I was disappointed in myself for not being able to pep her up and get her to shelf the pain and trudge on. She called and got a ride and finished with 29 miles.

My destiny in this race was up in the air. I had nothing driving me to go on, soI just decided to jog until I made a decision. It's funny how things like that work. After a mile or so, I was feeling good and on top of my game again. 

I stopped for a pic of the Golden Driller on my second loop. The traffic around the fairgrounds was a massive road rage. People in long lines to get into the fairgrounds were in no way willing to give way to a pedestrian. My legs were not spry enough to bound through the intersection with quick bunny feet. It took three light cycles for me to get across 21st Street.

Lynna, my always willing pacer called and found out where I was, and got a ride out to meet me. We hooked u near TU, and she ran the last 8-10 miles in with me. Having endless conversation was awesome at this point in my race.

As luck would have it, the same train crossing we'd hit earlier in the day help us u again. This time, a nice sit down was nice.

Passing through downtown meant we were about 5 miles away. I was ready to be done. I shuffled most of the way.

Even though 20 hours is woefully slow for a 50 miler, I was greeted and cheered like I'd won the race. I love my running friends.

During the race, I had serious doubt that I'd ever do the race again, but now I am already thinking about giving it a go again next year. It's a sickness.

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